Article: Thinking agile vs working agile. What’s the difference? The Agile Manifesto and 12 agile principles.

Read about agile behaviour of the 12 agile principles below

Click on one of the 12 principles to learn more.

For each principle you can see below the associated behaviour that we look for in an organization which is claimed to ‘be’ agile (i.e. working agile as well as thinking agile).

Additionally we give examples of agile practices that are often used in order to exhibit the associated behaviour.

Customer Focus

1

We deliver products that customers need.

They work and are released at regular intervals.

Behavior

1

LISTEN - THEN TALK

We listen.

To customers when co-creating prototypes.

Practice

1

EXAMPLES

Story Mapping
MVP
Working in sprints

Value increments

Changing needs

2

You think you know what you want.

Until the first prototype.

Deliver value – not requirements!

Behavior

2

BE OPEN

Accept that needs change based on new knowledge.

Fewer risks by frequent deliverables.

Practice

2

EXAMPLES

Re-prioritize needs. Refine backlog and demonstrate.

Receive feedback in each sprint.

Frequent delivery

3

Every 2 weeks:

Deliver what’s needed.

Deliver what was agreed.

Behavior

3

AGREEMENTS

Focus on reliability and visibility.

Daily continuous integration.

Practice

3

EXAMPLES

High modularity of code.

Many environments (DevOps).

In it - together

4

Developer and PO co-operate.

Daily. Closely together.

Behavior

4

WE & US!

– not them and us

Talking like co-located.

About everything.

Practice

4

EXAMPLES

No siloes.

Stand-up’s with PO.

Customer in the team.

Moti-vation

5

High motivation:

Happiness & initiative.

Better results.

Behavior

5

SELF-MANAGEMENT

Trust.

Involve & Engage.

Self organize.

Practice

5

EXAMPLES

Vision. Guidance.

Stable teams.

Relations. No control!

Face to face

6

Two people at a whiteboard: The most effective communication ever.

Behavior

6

Honesty. Mutual trust.

Common decisions.

Same room.

Listen actively.

Practice

6

EXAMPLES

Meet in person.

Daily stand-ups. Sprint Planning. Backlog refinement.

Working Product

7

We measure progress by watching software or products that work.

Behavior

7

IT WORKS

Everyone test until it works.

Demo’es.

Deploy often.

Practice

7

EXAMPLES

Test frequently. Small increments.

We evaluate what we see.

Sustain-able

8

Humane working condition.

No stress and working late hours.

Behavior

8

BALANCE

Stable pace.

Proactive attitude.

Relentness improvement.

Practice

8

EXAMPLES

Events at fixed cadance.

No unfair hard deadlines.

Excel-lence

9

We know what we’re doing. Fail fast.

We want to be the best.

Behavior

9

LEARNING

Robust design.

We learn from our mistakes.

Ideation.

Practice

9

EXAMPLES

New techonology.

Lifelong learning.

Acknowledge creativity.

Simpli-city

10

Create simple solutions.

Reduce complexity.

Small steps.

Behavior

10

INCREMENTs

We build the most important first.

Build as simple as possible.

Practice

10

EXAMPLES

Story Mapping Workshops.

Minimum Viable Products.

Self-manage-ment

11

Best results are achieved in teams that are self organising.

Behavior

11

ACCOUNTABLE

Team is responsible and trusted.

Everybody is in charge.

Freedom under responsibility.

Practice

11

EXAMPLES

Cross-functional teams deliver error prone Features.

Decision power in teams:  Intrinsic motivation.

Retro-spectives

12

We look back and learn – often – and improve. Relentlessly.

Behavior

12

IMPROVING

The team aims at constant improving.

We inspire eachother. Ensure learning.

Practice

12

EXAMPLES

Retrospectives every sprint.

Demoes with customer feedback.

Thinking agile (some call it ‘being agile’) and working agile is not the same.

At AgiliT we believe that only when teams follow the intention behind The Agile Manifesto and 12 associated Principles  as well as clearly manifest and show a behaviour that supports it, then you are on the right track and highly likely to being able to achieve the benefits of agility.

We are also looking for evidense of a Learning Organization (ref. Peter Senge’s book The Fifth Discipline).

Working agile

By using agile practices such as Daily Stand-up’s , Retrospectives and delivering products based on a prioritized backlog, you *work* agile.

Thinking agile

We believe that working agile is insufficient. It’s a matter of thinking agility into basically everything you do and at all levels in your organization – for leaders as well as followers.

References

The Agile Manifesto for Software Development (2001).

Learning Organization : Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline.

A Scrum Book by Jeff Sutherland, James O. Coplien and the Scrum Patterns Group (2019)

Same article in Danish: Artikel – Hvornår arbejder man agilt??

We would like to thank Bent Jensen, BestBrains Academy for inspiring us to provide this overview.